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Defense gives men’s basketball statement MAC win over Ohio b

Source:sites edit:casino time:2018-01-05

The Central Michigan men's basketball team won its first Mid-American Conference game by 25 points on Jan. 2.

The Chippewas owned a 71-43 edge with 8:22 remaining, helping the team coast to a 75-50 victory over the Bobcats to open MAC play at McGuirk Arena. 

Head coach Keno Davis said CMU's defense has been making the difference. The Chippewas' defense ranks No. 32 in the nation and allows just 64.3 points per game. 

“We are still going to shoot the three and we're going to be an up-tempo team.” Davis said. “But, how much we were going to commit on defense — we knew that was going to be the staple this year and there weren't any guys fighting it and they were proud to work that hard in practice.”

Coming into the game against the CMU, Ohio was averaging 79.8 points per game. The Chippewas held the Bobcats to a season-low 50 points. Ohio’s second lowest point total was in a 61-53 win to open the season against Alabama A&M on Nov. 11. 

“We knew they had a lot of guys who could shoot the ball really well so we went in focused on taking their shots away and helping each other out and playing team defense,” sophomore forward David DiLeo said. “We know it's not going to be one guy going out and locking down a guy, we've got to do it collectively as a team.”

DiLeo scored 22 points, added seven rebounds and one assist. 

“I've got confidence in my shot and it starts with my teammates and coaches having confidence in me and they're always telling me to shoot it as soon as I have an open look,” DiLeo said. “When I'm open, I'm going to let it fly. It's been feeling good lately both in practice and in the games."

After game one of MAC play, Buffalo, Miami (Ohio), Central Michigan, Ball State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois opened with victories. The Chippewas earned the biggest point-spread with 25 points. 

"I think we probably opened some eyes around the league already," said Davis, whose team ranks first in the MAC defensively. "Tonight's another instance of that. We talked about it in the locker room that it's a great win and we should enjoy it, but one game doesn't mean where you are as a team."

CMU heads to play Kent State at 7 p.m. on Jan. 6 at the MAC Center in Kent, Ohio. The Golden Flashes are 6-8 overall and dropped their first MAC game to Northern Illinois, 75-61. 

"We know we have a way to go to try to improve both defensively and offensively,” Davis said. “This team works extremely hard and I think we can get a lot better. A lot of things went right tonight. There's going to be nights where a lot of things don't go right and we've got to be able to find other ways and get better." 

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